Saturday, July 18, 2009

Heavy metal fans have field day

Heavy metal fans have field day
While metal thieves go about their work in an unabashed manner, the police watch on helplessly. However, it is the BDA that feels the pinch
B K LAKSHMIKANTHA


Scrap metal thieves in the city are now getting bigger and bolder: They have started targeting mega infrastructure projects to make some quick bucks.
Wondering how? Well, a visit to the Hebbal flyover will unravel the mystery behind the missing metal railings and the modus operandi of the thieves. The 5.35-km Hebbal flyover has interchanges at five levels and is a high priority infrastructure project built at a cost of Rs 66.2 crore. The structure has a lot of metal on the exterior, attracting attention towards them. More than 15 metal pipes (serving as grills) installed on the walls of the flyover have been stolen.
MOTORISTS AT RISK
The thieves, mostly drug addicts or rag-pickers of nearby areas, come at night to remove grills. These grills are more than 6-ft long and are of superior quality. “The thieves cut or remove the grills and sell them in the scrap shops for good money,” a BDA official told Bangalore Mirror.
Each grill costs around Rs 3,000. The thieves make around Rs 200 to Rs 400 on each grill. The scrap metal dealers then sell them at triple the buying cost. “It is a huge loss for the BDA. It also puts motorists at risk and spoils the look of the structure,” he said.
And to cause BDA such damage, all it takes are a few blades and a vehicle to transport the pipes. What makes life much easier for thieves is that vehicles on the flyover move at great speed. Hence, no one has a chance to notice much. “Even the cops ignore them presuming them to be enjoying an aerial view of the Hebbal lake,” another official said.
COPS TO KEEP VIGIL
“We are planning to write a letter to the jurisdictional police. The police will be patrolling the area to keep a vigil on the miscreants,” the official added.
A huge sand pile on the flyover has become a deathtrap for vehicles which have to take a sharp curve in the steep road. Braking on the sand is likely to make the vehicle skid, resulting in possibly fatal accidents. The grills are meant to thwart such eventualities.
UNEARTHLY ‘OCCURRENCES’
When contacted, BDA Assistant Executive Engineer Nagendra said it is difficult to catch the culprits as thefts happen only at night.
The Hebbal flyover was built to connect Tumkur Road and K R Puram road with National Highway 7 and ease traffic there. According to the BDA survey, the vehicular traffic composition is 20 per cent trucks, 7 per cent Buses, 25 per cent cars/Jeeps, 42 per cent two-wheelers and 4 per cent autorickshaws. Among trucks, 48 per cent of the average daily traffic (ADT) is in the Hyderabad-Tumkur direction and 45 per cent towards the KR Puram-Hyderabad direction.
The average daily traffic is 57,033 (87,558 passenger car unit (PCU) in which Bangalore Hyderabad 20,502 (35%), Hyderabad Bangalore 22,040 (38%) and Outer Ring Road 14,491 (27%).

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